HANCOCK, N.H. – TempleFest 2017, the annual summer festival of the Temple of Witchcraft, was held last weekend. Attendees and presenters traveled from all over the country to partake in workshops, panels, and rituals. Did these witches find what they were looking for? Folklorist and anthropologist Dr. Sabina Magliocco says Pagans attend festivals for a range of reasons, “Everything from seeking to immerse themselves completely in Pagan culture, to reconnecting with old friends, experiencing nature in the company of other Pagans, and participating in large group ritual. Some go just to party with friends.”
In April, scientists and supporters in cities across the United States marched in a unified protest. “In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery,” states the March for Science website, “can we afford not to speak out in its defense?” Pagans across the country joined scientists, whether in spirit or in the flesh, and supported the march. This demonstrates a general support for scientific work in the Pagan community, yet that support can take different forms depending on one’s particular spiritual practice. The Pagan umbrella is large, and the practices that claim space beneath it are diverse; each practitioner has a different relationship with the scientific community. This can vary based on your beliefs, your professional life, and your understanding of scientific inquiry.
SAN FRANCISCO – Members of the Priesthood of Coru Cathubodua and its allies attended the city’s pride event to offer assistance with medical aid, safety escorting, and spiritual protection. Wearing their distinctive red priesthood shirts, the members were stationed throughout the event with first aid kits and other “parade-related accessories.” Communications chief Scott H. Rowe said, “In a time when the currents of hatred and intolerance have been permeating our national and cultural consciousness, events like Pride, which uplift and celebrate diversity, are more important than ever. In order that the LGBTQ community are free to celebrate safely, it is particularly important for community members who are able to do so to offer protection and support.” Coru Cathubodua is often found assisting at similar events around the Bay Area.
Our society often equates popularity with worth or with power. The status system created by celebrity culture is not something new, and it exists in many societies. One of the unfortunate side effects of living in a modern day celebrity culture is that it often separates people from the humanity of one another. We see this with celebrities within popular mainstream culture, and we also experience this in the much smaller segments of our own interconnected communities. Modern Pagan communities have their own definitions for popularity status. There are even varying categories that distinguish where people fall on the continuum.Author, Blogger, Ritualist, High Priest(ess), Artist, Musician, Academic or Leader. All of these are not only functional roles within the Pagan and modern Polytheist world, but they are also titles that come with expectations, a bit of status, and some relative privilege.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Noted children’s and young adult author Margaret Mahy passed away last week due to complications resulting from cancer. The New Zealand author wrote several acclaimed titles, and was beloved in her home country, my personal favorite was “The Changeover,” a story about Witchcraft, initiation, and growing up. That title won the annual Carnegie Medal in Literature from the Library Association, and is worth seeking out, as are many of her works.